Under the new rules, Twitter and other social media platforms are required to disclose the organizations who buy political ad campaigns and the amount they spend. The lawmakers brought this to attention when during the 2016 elections it was discovered that the Russians had been interfering in U.S. elections through online political ads.
Twitter made it clear in a blog post that they will clearly be mentioning the organizations behind electioneering ads which as per the rules of Federal Election Commission (FEC) will require political ads for a specific candidate representing an affiliated party of elected office posted within 30 days of primary election or 60 days of a general election will be disclosed.
Such ads will have a visual marker so it’s easier to figure out a political ad. The visual marker will have a purple dot on the top and a purple box on the bottom with the text “Promoted by”.
Additionally, Twitter will also limit the tools that can be used to target people through political ads and there will strong penalties for those who won’t be abiding by the new rules. It’s unclear though what the penalties or tougher standards will be.
According to the “Honest Ads Act”, it’s now pertinent for the all social media platforms with 50 million or more monthly unique visitors to make their database public. The records also need to be made public if anyone buys political ads worth more than $500.
Twitter will also be launching their “transparency center” soon which will reveal which ads were targeted to the users on the basis of their personal criteria. The political ads will have additional information, including who funded the campaign and how much is being spent on the campaign. Metrics like age, gender and geography and gender used to target the political ads will also be made public.
The new ad policies will work their way through the U.S. first and later to other countries worldwide.